Dr. Ermino walked down the hallway of the Fourside Hospital for the Mentally Unstable, flipping through papers on her clipboard. The blue eyes behind her glasses were focused on the forms that Dr. Andonuts had signed just a few days ago. These sheets had permitted Dr. Ermino's patient to go out of the hospital a while.
She had been one of the many doctors in charge of that particular patient. Such a strange case, she had thought. She had objected at first to his being put into Dr. Andonuts' hands, but he was a great and respectable doctor; she figured he would never let the patient out of his sight.
In her musings, she bumped into Dr. Richards as she went by a large window that faced out into the street. She adjusted her glasses and nodded and apology to him as he walked past. She knelt down to pick up a piece of paper she had dropped.
As Dr. Ermino stood up, her eyes drifted out of the window. It certainly was not a very busy day in town- what people there were on the sidewalk walked along quickly and with purpose... All except one. He was walking along, seemingly oblivious to the world around him. A young man with dark hair...
Dr. Ermino gasped. Her eyes flicked to the piece of paper she had picked up. Paperclipped to it was a photograph of the patient.
She looked back out to the man on the sidewalk. Photograph. Street. Photograph. Street. The man looked up at her.
She ran for a phone.
Fourside certainly had changed, Ness thought as he walked along, his hands in his pockets. Like everything else had changed. A lot can happen in ten years...
He was so lost in his thoughts he didn't even know where his feet were carrying him anymore. He let them take over and sort of drifted along the sidewalk, looking around but not really looking at anything. People passed him going both ways, some much faster than he was. the sidewalks were not very crowded.
He began passing by a large white building.
Suddenly, out of the corner of his eye, he saw something. He stopped walking, and turned to look up. A woman in a white lab coat and glasses was standing in the window holding a piece of paper. There was no mistaking her face.
And she was looking at him.
Ness ran, suddenly feeling as though he was choking on his own idiocy. How could I have been so stupid?
Nothing he could do now but run. They'd be after him soon, no doubt about it.
Unless she hadn't recognized him, he thought, running into the park and hiding behind a tree, looking back in the direction of the insane asylum. Impossible, he corrected himself. You were there for ten damn years, you think she wouldn't know your face after that long?
Ten years... Ten years he wished had never happened. He at least wished he could forget them as easily as he had all that other stuff. He pounded the tree softly with the side of his fist and leaned against the tree, breathing hard. But then he looked up. It didn't matter how far he ran or where he went, Paula and Poo would find him with their psychic powers.
Dare he go to another country? It could easily be done now... But no, before he found a place that didn't have people in it, where it would be safe to teleport, they'd have found him and packed him back away in the nut house. And Dr. Andonuts... Jeff's dad would be in trouble. Big-time trouble. He'd have to explain everything.
Ness could never let that happen. He'd die if he had to, he thought, and suddenly remembered that he knew Healing and Lifeup and all that crap. How could he let himself die when he had those kinds of...
Ah, screw it.
He pushed off of the tree with both arms, ready to run again, but what met his eyes and ears made him stop abruptly and nearly fall backwards.
People in the park were whispering around him. A lady in the street screamed. Two cars slammed into each other, and the drivers, nearly unfazed, got up to look at the sky.
For the afternoon sky was suddenly pitch black. The sun had turned into a blazing white ball.
Faster than Ness could think of a reaction, his friends were by his side.
"Let's go!" Paula screamed, grabbing his arm.
The last thing Ness saw before they teleported was a bright white light.
"...stronger than we thought... I can't believe we saw through..."
Ness opened his eyes slowly, letting things come into focus. He felt nauseous.
"Ness!" Paula was kneeling by him. Jeff was at his other side, "Are you all right?" Paula asked.
Ness didn't answer. He sat up halfway and put a hand to his forehead, "What happened?"
"Teleport Omega... We had to use it, we weren't thinking, it was too strong for you..." Paula said.
"He'll be fine." Jeff, who was standing, said, "He just needs rest."
"Where are we?" Ness asked, trying to sit up the rest of the way, but falling back again.
"A place where I believe you have passed out before." Poo, who had appeared to come out of nowhere (and probably had, Ness thought), said, raising an eyebrow.
Now that things were a little bit clearer to see, Ness was able to have a look around. He was lying in sand. The sound of waves came from in front of him, people from behind.
"Summers?" he asked.
"Yeah." said Paula.
"What are we doing here?" Ness asked.
"Pokey." Paula sighed.
"Yeah," said Jeff, "He's not only stronger, he's a little smarter than he used to be."
"That's not saying much." even in his condition, Ness could still make jokes.
"He was tricking us." Jeff continued, "Making us think he was weak. He nearly destroyed us... It took Poo's last shred of Psychic Power to Teleport first to Fourside, then to here."
"Meanwhile, Pokey got Threed... and Fourside." Paula added.
Ness was now nearly fully recovered. He sat up all the way and looked at Paula. "Well, I didn't blow up the hotel." he said.
The faintest of smiles crossed Paula's lips. "No, you didn't." she said with a little shake of the head.
Then there was silence. Only the sound of waves and the people around them.
Maybe it was telepathy. Maybe it was just human intuition. But Ness knew what all of the others were thinking.
If they didn't hurry, he never would get a chance to blow up the hotel again.